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When is the next leap year? This seems to be a common question most of us ask. I have the answer for you, plus some fun leap year printables to help you teach your students or kids all about what it is and why we have it.
When is the Next Leap Year?
The next leap year (at the time this was written) is February, 2024. It occurs every four years in February. So, following 2024, we have a leap year in 2028, 2032, 2036, 2040, etc.
Did you know that people born on leap day, or February 29th, are called leaplings. Learn about more of these facts and traditions in my printable mini book for kids.
This little booklet has 10 pages. I have a full color version as well as a black and white version available in my printable download. You can choose to print it in color or to let kids color it in. Both are great options! Included in the book are fun facts and myths about Leap Year.
Also included with the printable book is an About Me Time Capsule for kids to fill out about themselves. It has questions about them that they can fill in plus a place to trace their handprint to measure against on the next leap year. Tuck it away in a safe place and pull it out again in four years.
What Is Leap Year? And Why Do We Have Them?
Leap year is a year that has an extra day in February. It occurs every fourth calendar year in February. We get an extra day at the end of the month. So, while February usually has 28 days, during a leap year the number of days is 29. (See my Months of the Year post!)
The earth’s rotation, a solar year, is a little more than 365 days. But since we can’t have quarters of a day, they decided to let the quarters accumulate and have an extra day every fourth year. Brilliant, really!
These extra days began in 45 BC under the reign of Julius Caesar. He created the Julian calendar which added an extra day every four years. The problem was that the earth’s orbit is not exactly 365.25 days. It is actually 365.242 days. Over time, this little bit adds up and made the calendar out of sync again! Just a small shift would change the seasons causing us to have Christmas in summer months in the Northern hemisphere.
The Gregorian calendar fixed this problem when Pope Gregory XIII created it 1582. He decided to skip leap years when the century years are not divisible by 400.
More Fun Ways to Learn On This Special Day:
I personally love when this special day comes around. It feels like a bonus day and I always want to make the most of it! Fill your bonus day with fun things this time around. What do you do to make it special in your home?
Learn skip counting by 4. Make a hopscotch game to practice!
Play our Leap Frog Origami Game.
Learn more about frogs with this Edible Frog Life Cycle.
Learn more about the Solar System with this fun activity.
Check out this Leap Year Math Activity.